And THAT, dear friends, is a big part of my problem.
There are many habits you learn as a child that you may think you outgrow but when you actually examine your habits you realize you've been doing it that way since you were knee-high to a grasshopper. (I do love that expression). And so is the case with me: I've always been a fast eater and an over-eater. I was always a little chubby as a kid but I grew up in the country, in a time when you shoved your kids outside after breakfast and only let them back in when it got dark. Lunch would happen, of course, but it was usually whatever the parents could cram down my throat rather than a formal affair. So being a fast eater and a heavy eater didn't matter as much because I was running around outside burning it all off.
It caught up with me in high school, when we moved further into the country and much further removed from neighbours. Suddenly I didn't have friends' houses nearby to walk or bike to or a swimming hole to spend all summer at. And then my PCOS blossomed and suddenly none of my pants fit and I had this tire around my stomach (which is still there, BTW). Despite this, my eating habits didn't change.
And in university, of course I put on weight. I mean, my meal plan let me eat at fast food restaurants every day, every meal if I wanted and there was no one to tell me differently. Sure, I knew it was bad but this was also the late '90s and early 2000s, so the fast food industry wasn't yet the despised beast it is now, but rather a decent outlet for an occasional lazy dinner.
Even after university, when I started making a better effort to eat well, I kept up with the fast eating and eating when I felt like it, whether I was hungry or not. I'm not even sure why I became such a fast eater. I was an only child until I was 10 so I wasn't competing for food with several siblings. And when you're a fast eater you finish your reasonable portion and still feel hungry you so go in for seconds and when your body finishes digesting you're suddenly stuffed to the seams and, more often than not, in a bit of pain. I speak from too many years of experience but - and here's the rub - I keep doing it. Egad.
I know I need to slow down and I know I need to cap how much I eat and how often I eat but, honestly, it's really hard. I've been doing this since I was a wee lass and it's not easily switched off even when I know it's bad for me and that it is the main contributor to my weight and body image issues.
So this is the big thing for me to tackle this year: eat slower, eat less, eat when hungry and STOP when I'm full.